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ASA News is the monthly e-newsletter from the American Sportfishing Association. Please scroll down for the complete document. Use the links in the right hand navigation under the specific topic area to access additional information.

For more information contact Communications Director Mary Jane Williamson, (703) 519-9691, x227.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION!

  • Maine Soft Baits Ban Issue Sent to Study
  • Public Comments Needed for Bristol Bay!
  • KeepAmericaFishing™ – Give to Gear Up in 2013
  • No Truth to Health Care Law Taxing Fishing Equipment

ICAST 2103

  • Experient, Inc. is the Official Housing Partner of ICAST 2013
  • ICAST Registration and Housing Reservations Are Open
  • Follow ICAST on Twitter – Like Us on Facebook

Policy and Government Affairs

  • House Bill Introduced to Address Fishing Access at Cape
  • Budget Law Will Freeze Sport Fish Restoration Funds
  • Senators Call For Review of Marine Stock Assessments Funding
  • Legislation Introduced on E15
  • Tennessee Tailwaters Bill Introduced in House
  • Improved Access to Maryland’s Fishable Waters
  • Available Now – Sportfishing in America: An Economic Force for Conservation

Maine Soft Baits Ban Issue Sent to Study

On February 19, Maine’s Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife passed a resolution requesting the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to study whether or not soft baits negatively affect fish health and populations. The committee needs to approve the final study language and then both chambers of the state government will need to pass the resolution. KeepAmericaFishing™ sent a petition to stop the ban on soft baits to the Committee with over 16,000 signatures from anglers across the country. Having this issue studied as opposed to a bill banning soft baits is a victory for anglers and KeepAmericaFishing™.

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Public Comments Needed for Bristol Bay

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is asking for addition public comments and scientific review regarding potential Pebble Mine impacts in Bristol Bay, Alaska. The EPA will release their watershed assessment later this spring and will request comments after that. The previous assessment by the EPA overwhelmingly supported what the sportfishing community advocated for – denial of Pebble Mine permits under the Clean Water Act. ASA, alongside the outdoor community, had requested that the EPA use its power under the Clean Water Act’s section 404(c) to protect Bristol Bay from the proposed Pebble Mine. Pebble Mine, if permitted, would become North America’s largest open-pit mine and produce up to 10 billion tons of toxic mine waste that must be treated and stored in perpetuity.

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KeepAmericaFishing™ – Give to Gear Up in 2013

Now through April 22, KeepAmericaFishing™ is featuring an exciting spring fundraising opportunity. In cooperation with our partners, we are running a ‘weekly deal’ each week focused on “gearing up anglers” at a discount. Each Tuesday a new promotion will launch concluding the previous week’s promotion. Participants must take advantage of the offer in the week it is listed to get the discount.  Items vary from tackle to apparel but you won’t know the full suite until the end. Give to Gear Up is available at www.keepamericafishing.org/give2gearup.

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No Truth to Health Care Law Taxing Fishing Equipment

The latest rumor circulating on the Internet has to do with a new tax on fishing equipment and references the IRS Publication 510. ASA has researched this document and addressed it with the tax counsel on the Senate Finance Committee. There is no new tax being applied to fishing equipment. Congress did impose new industry fees in the health care bill on industries standing to turn a profit as result of the health care bill, e.g., medical device manufacturers as well as on the insurance industry. However, nothing was done to change the tax treatment associated with excise taxes on sporting equipment, including fishing gear.

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Experient, Inc. is the Official Housing Partner of ICAST 2013

Its been brought to our attention that ICAST attendees are being contacted by businesses that are misrepresenting themselves as agents for ICAST 2013 offering discounted rates at various Las Vegas hotels. Experient, Inc. is the only company authorized by the American Sportfishing Association and the ICAST team to make hotel reservations for ICAST 2013. ASA has negotiated with a wide selection of hotels in Las Vegas to obtain the best price possible at the hotels nearest to the convention center. Booking with businesses unaffiliated with ICAST makes it impossible for the ICAST team to assist you should there be a problem with your reservations.

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ICAST Registration and Housing Reservations Are Open

You can register for the show and make your housing reservations at the same time. When registering for badges, you may also make your hotel reservations at the official ICAST hotels including the Las Vegas Hotel, our ICAST headquarters hotel. Other official ICAST hotels include Courtyard by Marriott Convention Center, Embassy Suites Convention Center, Las Vegas Marriott Convention Center, Residence Inn by Marriott Convention Center and Springhill Suites Convention Center. For more information visit the ICAST website or contact Experient, Inc. (301) 694-5243 or email ICAST-IFTD@experient-inc.com.

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Follow ICAST on Twitter – Like Us on Facebook

Enthusiasm for ICAST is as high as it's ever been and our followers are growing by the day. Share your thoughts about why you attend ICAST on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ICASTfishing. You can also keep up with the latest information about ICAST, the world's largest fishing trade show by following us on Twitter at @ICASTshow.

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House Bill Introduced to Address Fishing Access at Cape

Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Representative Walter Jones (R-N.C.) recently reintroduced companion bills (S. 486 and H. R. 819) to overturn the February 2012 final rule from the National Park Service which excessively restricts recreational access at Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area. A hearing on the bill was held in the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation on March 14th. An identical version of the bill passed the House of Representatives in the last Congress, but the Senate version failed to make it out of committee.

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Budget Law Will Freeze Sport Fish Restoration Funds

On March 1, across-the-board government budget cuts went into effect. These cuts include withholding parts of the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, a move that would have a significant negative impact on fisheries conservation and the jobs it supports. The Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund has been recommended for a $34 million cut under sequestration. For more information please check KeepAmericaFishing.

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Senators Call For Review of Marine Stock Assessments Funding

On February 28, eight senators led by Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) sent a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office requesting a review of how the Department of Commerce conducts fishery stock assessments in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic. Stock assessments are critical for understanding the health of fish stocks and in determining fishing regulations. This important information is lacking for many important fisheries, particularly in the Southeast. The letter was also signed by Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), David Vitter (R-La.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

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Legislation Introduced on E15

On February 14, Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and David Vitter (R-La.) introduced a bill to block an increase in the amount of ethanol that can be blended in gasoline. The bill would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from granting any waiver allowing gasoline containing more than 10 percent ethanol and would repeal the previous waivers allowing gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol (E15) into the commercial marketplace. Gasoline blended with a higher percentage of ethanol, such as E15, can cause severe damage to motors including motorboat engines. Many automotive companies will not cover insurance claims for these damages.

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Tennessee Tailwaters Bill Introduced in House

On February 26, Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) introduced the Freedom to Fish Act which would prohibit the Army Corp of Engineers (ACOE) from closing tailwaters along the Cumberland River and its tributaries. On February 28, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) introduced the Senate version of the Freedom to Fish Act. On December 13, the ACOE finalized plans to close recreational access around ten dam facilities in Tennessee and Kentucky, citing potentially hazardous waters. Both Tennessee and Kentucky oppose the closures.

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Improved Access to Maryland’s Fishable Waters

On February 26, a bill (H.B. 797) to promote safe recreational fishing, canoe and kayak access along the state’s bridges and roads was heard in the Maryland Environmental Matters Committee. ASA provided written testimony supporting the bill. Maryland has more than 10,000 miles of rivers and streams which can be difficult to access because adjacent roads and bridges lack safe shoulders, pull-off areas or parking. In many cases, these areas were constructed without regard to access and angler safety. This bill would require transportation projects consider the feasibility of waterway access in construction or improvement projects involving a bridge that crosses a waterway, which typically can be achieved at minimal or no cost. For more information visit KeepAmericaFishing.org.

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Available Now – Sportfishing in America: An Economic Force for Conservation

According to Sportfishing in America: An Economic Force for Conservation, America’s nearly 60 million anglers are estimated to spend $48 billion per year on fishing equipment, transportation, lodging and other expenses associated with their sport. With a total annual economic impact of $115 billion, recreational fishing supports more than 828,000 jobs and generates $35 billion in wages and $15 billion in federal and state taxes. Despite the economic difficulties facing the U.S. economy over the past five years; the total amount spent on sportfishing, which encompasses tackle, travel and other equipment, grew five percent. Sportfishing in America: An Economic Force for Conservation is available on ASA’s website under Facts & Figures/Studies and Surveys.

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